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About bluejay

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  • Birthday 03/04/2007

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    Doom (1993)
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  1. I found some people who managed to interface an ATA IDE hard drive with 8 bit computers (one did it for his Z80 based project computer, and there seems to be a lot of people who made an interface for the TRS-80 Color Computer, which is nice, since my computer shares a lot in common with the CoCo.) I don't understand completely how it works yet, but I have a general idea. If I get IDE hard drives working successfully with my computer, I might design a similar interface for a C64 or Apple II.

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    2. carlsson


      Before IDE, there were e.g. ST-506/ST-412 MFM and RLL hard drives using two cables. But that is mostly of historical interest.


      But yes, making a homebrew 8-bit computer that uses either the IBM or the original Shugart interface for classic floppy drives might make sense. Would you then implement some known file system, whether you're using some FM/MFM encoding or some GCR encoding?

    3. bluejay


      Thanks for clarifying everything. Then I suppose I better start studying that Shugart interface... I'm assuming the standard Shugart interface is what all the generic floppy drives use, not any of the variants? Or does it use the IBM style one?


      I really want a FAT12 file system with MFM encoding, but as of now I have no clue how floppy drives work, so I have no idea how complicated it would be to make a compatible controller. Or I could just steal the design of a random 8 bit PC floppy controller.


      Hm, I did some googling, and there seems to be a cheap floppy controller chip called the PC8477BV-1. I haven't looked at the datasheets yet but I found a picture of one inside an 8 bit ISA floppy controller, so hopefully it'll work in my 8 bit computer.

    4. carlsson


      You would have to research a little more, but it would seem to me that the majority of all commonly available floppy drives are IBM compatible. I don't know the NEC FDC and how its function affects the external pinout, or if IBM just determined they had a better idea what a drive needs (or changed the interface to steer clear of licensing issues with Shugart).

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